The Shiite Crescent and the Coronavirus

(Israel Hayom) Hillel Frisch - A study released on Feb. 24 by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota revealed how salient Iran's religious ties to Shiite communities in Arab states have been in the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. The five Middle Eastern countries that first reported COVID-19 cases - Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Oman - all have substantial Shiite populations, and all the cases cited are clearly linked to Iran. The religious city of Qom has been the site of 40% of the cases identified so far in Iran. The ramifications of Iran's becoming a source of disease are more than medical. The writer is a professor of political and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at its Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

2020-03-10 00:00:00

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